St. Louis: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand suffered his second defeat in as many games losing to Alexander Grischuk of Russia in the second round of Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess tour.
After a loss against Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the opening round, Anand was in for another shock as Grischuk was better prepared for his first victory against the Indian ace in classical chess.
The day produced some more fascinating battles and drama after all decisive games in the first round. World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway was lucky to get a full point against American Fabiano Caruana while Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria continued with his winning ways, crushing Nakamura in what was certainly the game of the day.
The other two games in this ten-player round-robin event ended in draws with Dutchman Anish Giri settling for the half with Filipino-turned-American Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave signing peace with Levon Aronian of Armenia.
With seven rounds still to come, Topalov emerged as the sole leader on two points and he is now followed by Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave and Giri a half point behind. Carlsen, Nakamura and Grischuk share the fifth spot with one point each and they are a half point adrift of Weslet So. Caruana and Anand are at the bottom of the tables now as both are yet to open their account.
It turned out be another bad day in the office for Anand who simply hasn't got in to the groove here thus far. The Indian ace came here with high expectations with a string of fine performances but is struggling with his form.
It was a not-so-popular queen pawn opening by Grischuk although the Russian said he played it many times. The opening was a repeat of the blitz game between the two in Norway Chess tournament earlier in June but this time Grischuk had his plans in place.
Anand got in to a difficult position in the middle game and his position worsened when he lost pawn. The attempts to create counter play did not materialise and it was all over in just 35 moves.
There was huge drama in Carlsen's game against Caruana wherein the fortunes fluctuated many times. The Norwegian thought he was fine after the opening and then in the middle game the world champion was facing a severe crisis. Caruana blew up his advantage falling under time pressure and then Carlsen again was staring at a lost position when on the 40th move, with two seconds on his clock and one right move to make, the American Grandmaster blundered and lost.
Topalov is recently showing the glimpse of his glorious past when he won the World championship match tournament in 2005. After winning the first part of Grand chess tour in Norway, the Bulgarian seems unstoppable as Nakamura learned the hard way.
The Ruy Lopez as white yielded Topalov a small but lasting advantage that he built with time and deft manoeuvres.
Nakamura found himself in a difficult endgame and Topalov was spot on grinding out a win after 73 moves.
Results round 2: Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1) beat V Anand (Ind, 0); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 0) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 1.5) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 0.5).